My default reaction to the invitation was to decline speaking at the DisruptHR Lagos 2.0 event earlier this month.

When one of the organisers, Ms N, a friend based in the US, sent me a WhatsApp message, I immediately told myself why I shouldn’t.

“It’s an HR theme…and that’s not my niche”, I began in the chat, weakly explaining why I wouldn’t be a good fit.

But Ms N wasn’t about to concede defeat.

“It’s not ‘HR’ in the sense that it’s limited to folks in the HR space”, came her swift explanation. “It’s ‘HR’ because it’s about tech, trends, performance, practices, and policies that affect people”.

She then sent me some information about the event. I sighed and told her I’d consider it.

I became impressed after reviewing the link to the global DisruptHR website and watching talks from different countries. But I still shared my concern with my husband.

He looked at me in disbelief: “You’ve got to do it!’

I sighed again. The inner introvert screamed in protest, reminding me that I wasn’t an HR professional and might be irrelevant to the audience. I also knew I’d need to work twice as hard to justify my communication theme alongside the topics other speakers would deliver.

“Interestingly”, Ms N added in the WhatsApp chat when I delayed my decision, “We have folks who want to pay us for speaking!”

I melted. There I was, being privileged to receive an invitation to speak at the event, yet being ungrateful.

So,  I ignored the nagging internal voice coaxing me to decline the opportunity and told Ms N I’d speak at the annual programme. I then provided three potential speaking titles, and Ms N quickly selected the second option.

“I love the #2 topic. Just the way it’s posed is thought-provoking. People will want to know more and how to apply it in their areas”.

And so my topic was decided: The One Question That Will Transform Your Communication — And Make You Unforgettable.

The format of the presentations for the DisruptHR events was unlike anything I’d done in over 20 years in business communication. And one feature differentiated it from TED talks and Toastmasters speeches:

Presentation slides were to be timed. Each speaker will get five minutes and 20 slides to share something profound. But each slide will change every 15 seconds.

Although I knew my content and had written an article on its fundamental premise a few years before, I wanted to challenge myself further. So, after writing my outline and stripping away extraneous details, I was left with tight content and confident my speech would be helpful. Next, I worked on the slide design and then on my delivery.

I submitted my presentation one week before the deadline to resist further tweaks. I must have practised the presentations at least five times every day during the week leading to the event.

The experience was amazing. The second edition of the DisruptHR Lagos conference occurred at the prestigious Oriental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos, on 5 April. The event was executed well, and an engaging networking session followed. I also enjoyed meeting the other speakers. The fantastic feedback I received on my presentation on LinkedIn was heartwarming.

After reflecting on my speech and its impact, I’ve become a fan of timed mp4 presentations.

Therefore, below are three potent reasons you should consider using timed video presentations whenever you need to wow your audience:

#1: Timed presentations compel you to focus on the critical information

You become a master of precision as a result.

For the DisruptHR Lagos 2.0 event, I had to strip away the good-to-know information and focus on the critical content for each slide.

By eliminating the fluff, your content will become hard-hitting.

I decided to use Canva to design my slides. I ensured I had minimal text and large visuals (best practices). Then, I set the timer and applied the 15-second changes throughout the presentation. It was a simple hack, but that didn’t mean the presentation was easy for me to deliver.

When I practised, I was often too slow for slide changes. So, I cut terms I’d grown to love and restarted several times. But after much practice, I could focus more on the pauses and rhythm. Essentially, I used my body language behaviours to elevate the impact.

After designing the slides on Canva, I added some animation to heighten my points.  Then, the system automatically saved the presentation as an mp4 file.  Although Canva allows you to convert the mp4 file to PowerPoint and PDF, you lose the animation features you embed. So, I submitted my presentation as a video file.

I knew mine would stand out. And it did.

#2: Timed presentations boost your credibility

Of course, the success of my speech was not solely dependent on the presentation. My nonverbal cues—movement, volume, pace, smiles, and gestures—were also instrumental to my well-received delivery.

However,  a note of caution: Adhering to the timing of the slides is tricky. Learn from what went wrong at the DisruptHR 2.0 event:

a) For some speakers, it was difficult to advance content/thoughts at the time of the rotating slides, so they became flustered. They were taken aback by how quickly the slides changed. So, they simply continued their presentations and ignored their slides altogether, which I considered a shame.

b) For others, despite their commendable efforts, they couldn’t keep up with their rapidly changing slides and became visibly disoriented. As a result, they failed to recover from the disruption, which made their delivery less than stellar.

Nonetheless, if you practise thoroughly and ensure your transitions sync with the timed slides, you will catapult your delivery to rockstar levels. You’ll also become more persuasive, more trustworthy, and more influential.

For example, read the comments made on my delivery by those who attended the event.

Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2
Screenshot 3

You don’t need to set the timer to 15 seconds per slide change. But challenge yourself to use a short timeframe for each slide, say two minutes.

Avoid staying on one slide for over three minutes in a business presentation, no matter how intriguing your point is. The audience will become bored and tune off. You’ll also risk going off on an irrelevant tangent.

Bottom line: When you master the delivery of your timed presentations, you instantly boost your credibility.

#3: Timed presentations transform you from a presenter to an influencer

I don’t know about the other speakers whose presentations were brilliant, but I felt like a superstar after my speech.

Screenshot 4

As I was halfway into my presentation and observed the audience in the packed room, I could hear a pin drop; such was the silence and rapt attention I could feel. Their nonverbal cues empowered me and helped me ‘milk’ certain moments. So, I teased the pauses and stood still for some points. I also varied my volume by going loud and speaking softly (which my husband told me he loved). I could feel the supportive energy in the room.

My timed presentation allowed me to display the best version of myself and have fun with my content. I honestly didn’t want my stint to end.

In the networking session after the last speech, people were kind to commend me on my delivery. I was also approached by people who wanted to take pictures with me. Many connected with me on LinkedIn that evening and the day after.

All that impact came from one timed video presentation that was delivered well.

Imagine your impact at work or in your business circles when you routinely use timed mp4 presentations to request approvals, propose new projects, and influence decision-makers.

You’ll move from being a good presenter to becoming a thought leader.

You owe it to yourself to influence people and thrive in your field.


Now, timed presentations are not new. You’ll find that feature in PowerPoint and can add the animation you want.

However, I loved using Canva because it was more user-friendly and gave me simple options to transform my presentation. Plus, using a video format (mp4 file) makes you different. And like I said in my presentation:

Being different is gold in attention currency.

Therefore, impress your boss, colleagues or peers by switching to timed video presentations.

You won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

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N.B: First image is courtesy of Mohamed Hassan via Pixabay. Screenshots of messages are courtesy of Lucille Ossai’s LinkedIn account. The last image is courtesy of Peggy and Marco Lachmann-Anke via Pixabay. Video is courtesy of DisruptHR.

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